Preparing to Meet (Or Exceed) Market Pay



Salary has been a bone of contention in our industry; it’s even more so now. Below are a few instances that happened in 2021 and how adding a few bucks could have filled important roles.


POSITION:                      Assistant Head Grower

BUDGETED SALARY:    $80-100k

CANDIDATE ASK:           $107k

OUTCOME: Candidate went to another company after 4 rounds of intensive interviews and a trip to visit the farm. Company unwilling to come up to the $107k, candidate currently working for $115k with 1 interview and 1 visit.  

NOTES: The company spent more than 7k in travel expenses, and even signficantly more in labor costs of management during the interview process.  



POSITION:                      VP of Sales

BUDGETED SALARY:    $120-130k

CANDIDATE ASK:          $135k with 5k in relocation assistance.

OUTCOME: Candidate was offered $125k with a potential for $130k after 6 months. Candidate took another job, with a hybrid remote situation, was offered $150k, didn’t have to relocate.

NOTES:  The other company recognized the value in the candidates’ experience and knew that the amount of increased sales he/she could bring to the company in the first 6 months would more than offset the $150k offer.


POSITION:                       Head Grower

BUDGETED SALARY:    $140k-160k

CANDIDATE ASK:           $172k

OUTCOME: Candidate was offered $155k, counter offered with $172k, company declined. One month later, candidate went to work for the competition at $190k.

NOTES:  This position remains open.



  • The question is what to do when Growers, Assistant Growers, etc., already exist within the company and a potential “new hire” is coming in at a higher salary? WOW, that poses problems! Keep in mind we cannot stop our employees from discussing salary, and although we hope key players don't discuss compensation, cocktails at the company holiday party or picnic will generally prove us wrong.

  • Many companies in the industry have given significant pay increases to retain their top talent, understanding that turnover is more painful than the increase. Can't increase salary enough to be competitive? Find a way to give bonuses or profit sharing. When an employee is happy, they’re not receptive to recruiters or job posts that are flooding their inboxes. I know, this is a basic short answer, but it's the truth. 

  • The BIGGEST mistake and probably the most offensive occurs when an employee gives notice and the current employer comes back immediately with a $20-$30k increase to stay. 100% of the time the employee’s thoughts are “well, if I was already worth that, why wasn’t I already earning it?” If an employee does choose to stay, we don't see that working out in the long run; years later the employee still feels resentful and has one eye open at all times on the next best job offer. 



If you can’t increase salaries, expect to add additional perks.We'll be highlighting success stories in our December email that assisted in retaining employees that were, for the most part, non-compensatory.  We're not all doom and gloom here at!
If you got crazy creative in 2021 and would like to share in our newsletter (you can remain anonymous so your colleagues aren't mad for making them look bad) we'd love to hear from you!




(These are not customers engaged in our Talent Strategy Program; we conduct surveys 4x per year to provide feedback in our industry. Look for our interview in the December issue of Grower Talks/Green Profit.) 


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